Memory match: Lilywhites v Royals

Preston's win over Reading at Deepdale in October 2008 halted a losing run and was greeted with much relief by the Lilywhites faithful.

Thursday, 9th March 2017, 10:30 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:57 am
North End's equaliser against Reading in October 2008 hits the back of the net

They had lost four on the spin and Alan Irvine’s men could have been forgiven for a feeling of trepidation, with the Royals arriving in town on the back of three victories in which they had scored 10 goals.

The form book was thrown out of the window, although it did require a comeback from North End after going behind in the first half.

They levelled through an own goal and then Stephen Elliott netted his first PNE goal late on to take the points.

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Stephen Elliott celebrates his first goal for the club

Elliott had arrived the month before from Wolves in a swap deal with Matt Hill, this his first start after four substitute appearances.

Reading made a strong start, Stephen Hunt forcing an early save from North End keeper Andrew Lonergan.

Lonergan’s counterpart Marcus Hahnemann saved from Jon Parkin soon after.

There was a let-off for PNE when Brynjar Gunnarsson nodded back a Kevin Doyle cross for Noel Hunt to head against the bar.

Stephen Elliott celebrates his first goal for the club

Doyle was thwarted by a fine Lonergan save, the Irish striker’s header on its way into the top corner until the keeper tipped it over.

It was no surprise when the visitors went in front in the 26th minute.

Sean St Ledger was judged to have fouled Noel Hunt as they challenged in the box, referee Nigel Miller pointing to the spot.

Stephen Hunt tucked the penalty left-footed into the bottom corner.

Lonergan came to PNE’s rescue once again early in the second half, pulling off a fine save from Jimmy Kebe.

With seemingly nothing coming off for the home side, they were handed a route back into the contest in the 55th minute.

Chris Sedgwick swung a cross into the box from the left wing which did not look to be causing a great deal of danger.

But Ivar Ingimarsson and Hahnemann got themselves into a right old mess, colliding as they both went to clear.

The ball hit Ingimarsson on the leg and rolled over the line to the delight of the home faithful.

Boosted by the equaliser, the Lilywhites began to look dangerous.

Hahnemann saved from Parkin and Jay McEveley, then tipped a Billy Jones shot against the post.

At the other end, the Hunt brothers both had a bite at the cherry in a scramble in the box.

Ingimarsson put a header wide from a Stephen Hunt corner as he looked to make amends for his own goal.

North End surged forward in the closing stages, a cross from Paul McKenna met by Elliott, who put the chance wide.

The winner came in the 81st minute after PNE forced a corner.

Ross Wallace delivered it into the box, Hahnemann flapped at it and presented Elliott with the opportunity to side-foot into the net from 12 yards.

“It was just a farce,” said frustrated Reading manager Steve Coppell as he looked back on the goals conceded by his side.

PNE boss Irvine was a far happier man.

“I told the lads at half-time that I felt we were still in the game,” said the Scotsman.

“I felt we would get some more chances.

“It was important we didn’t fall further behind and fortunately it worked out that way for us.

“I thought the penalty was soft – the lads felt that way.”